As important as forwards Antawn Jamison(notes) and Gerald Wallace(notes) are, new additions to the backcourt may be what get the Washington Wizards and Charlotte Bobcats out of the Southeast Division cellar.
Separated by a half-game at the bottom of a division in which they’re the only teams under .500, Washington and Charlotte is each coming off arguably its best win of the season. A new shooting guard and a longtime starter at forward played pivotal roles for both clubs.
Washington (5-9) notched its second road win Friday, 94-84 over Miami as Jamison had 24 points and 13 rebounds while Young scored 22.
It was the second win in as many games since owner Abe Pollin passed away. The first was a 108-107 victory over Toronto on Tuesday as Young was inserted into the starting lineup and scored 20 points.
Before that victory, Young had appeared in only six games all season, totaling 12 points.
“Those days without playing kind of hurt me, so I kind of came out with a chip on my shoulder,” said Young, who has played nearly 70 minutes in the last two games after playing less than 45 during Washington’s 3-9 start.
Charlotte (6-9) pulled off a 94-87 home win over Cleveland on Friday behind Wallace’s 31 points and 14 boards.
Jackson added 17 points in his sixth game for the Bobcats since being acquired in a trade with Golden State. He’s averaged 18.5 points for Charlotte, which has won three in a row following a seven-game slide.
Two days earlier, Wallace had 31 points and 13 rebounds while Jackson added 23 points and six assists in a 116-81 win over Toronto.
Now Wallace looks to help give Bobcats managing partner Michael Jordan a victory over the team with which he had a failed tenure as an executive. Jordan sat courtside Friday, encouraging Wallace and advising him to keep attacking LeBron James(notes).
“He’s rooting, but he also has his suggestions on how we should play,” Wallace said. “He’s just like any other fan. He just happens to be Michael Jordan - and he’s also the boss.”
After having to go against James, Wallace likely will spend some time trying to stop Jamison, averaging 24.8 points and 11.2 boards in five games after missing the first nine with a shoulder injury.
Jamison’s 27 points keyed Washington snapping a four-game losing streak to Charlotte with a 95-93 home win March 25 in the most recent meeting. He had averaged 16.7 points on 36.0 percent shooting in three losses to the Bobcats last season.
So did Gilbert Arenas(notes), and that was a season low for the veteran point guard as his long-range shooting struggles continued. He missed both of his 3-point attempts and is 3 for 22 over the last five games after going 20 of 45 in his first nine.